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Posts published in “Op-ed”

Largest Climate Bill in U.S. History Is a Start, but Is It Enough?

Met with an enthusiastic round of applause and cheers, US President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law on Aug. 16, 2022. In his address to the American people, Biden triumphantly said the IRA–a bill dedicated to fighting climate change and reducing fossil fuel emissions in a way that will also lower inflation–is one of the most significant laws in American history.

Jeff Bezos: Billionaire, Philanthropist, Greenwasher?

The 27th UN Conference on Climate Change, COP27, saw a pronouncement from French President Emmanuel Macron that the Bezos Earth Fund had pledged $1 billion to protect carbon reserves and biodiversity. With such a prominent pledge, many have begun to ask, what is the Earth Fund, and where is it situated in the architecture of global environmental governance? Non-state actors are not new to the area, with NGOs and activists becoming increasingly prominent at these international conferences. But philanthropic groups like the Bezos Earth Fund are comparatively new. While they may be able to bring large amounts of money to the table, these actors raise concerns about legitimacy and the power of wealthy individuals like Jeff Bezos. As a result, the fund and its plans are worth a closer look.

Power Politics in the Arctic: China and India

The melting of the glaciers is changing geopolitical arrangements. In the Arctic, global warming is opening opportunities for the allocation of needed resources even to non-Arctic states. The region is indeed opening up to new power dynamics and competition as states propel their economic, military, and political claims. New powers, such as China and India, have joined the resources race; but what can they really gain from the frozen Arctic lands? And how will this affect the regional and global balance of power?

An Evening for Salman Rushdie

It has been almost three months since the British-American writer and faculty member of NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, Salman Rushdie was stabbed on stage during a literary event in New York by Hadi Matar at the Chautauqua Institution. On October 14th, 2022, I virtually joined an event, An Evening for Salman Rushdie, organized by PEN International at the British Library to celebrate his strength and dedication as a writer and a champion of free expression. In a way, it was also an evening of reflection. As horrifying as the assault on Rushdie was, it was 33 years in the making. Upon the Satanic Verses publication, protests broke out in India, the novel was banned, and footage of book burnings was widely broadcast around the world. Above all, a fatwa was issued against Rushdie by the Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini which sent him into hiding.

China’s Party Congress and the End of Political Competition

When the Chinese Communist Party’s National Congress concludes, it is a ripe time for many observers of Chinese politics to look at the new set of appointments and get a sense of the direction in which the country might be headed. Backgrounds of leaders elected to the Politburo Standing Committee (the highest decision-making body in the party) or the Politburo (the second-highest decision-making body) are revealed at the end of the Party Congress, and they would stay in power for the next five years. In Leninist-Marxist regimes, these leaders–who have historically been mostly men– are the living embodiment of the ‘five-year plans’ that rule planned economies. 

Can Sensationalism Save the Planet?

In the last few weeks, climate activism groups have filled the news, social media, and online conversations after a series of art attacks. Last week, demonstrators from the Letzter Generation (Last Generation), a German group, threw mashed potatoes on a Monet painting in Potsdam, Germany. At the same time, Just Stop Oil advocates, a UK based group rapidly expanding in Europe, pied a statue of King Charles in Central London and glued themselves to Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” painting in The Hague. These events seem to be increasing in frequency lately, certainly due to a culture based on meme imitations and sensationalism. However, they also appear to create even more polarization than the US midterms or the roulette of British PMs.

Can the UN Security Council be Reformed?

As Putin’s rhetoric and violence continues to increase, and accusations of war crimes mount against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, many around the world are wondering why Russia can’t simply be dismissed from the UN Security Council or at least blocked from voting. In February 2022 Russia Vetoed several Security Council decisions regarding the invasion. Since then,there has been discussion of UN Security Council reform as it has been well established that Putin’s military operation violates the UN Charter on many levels.

The Paradox of Post-Colonialism in Hong Kong

On September 16, I watched as Hong Kongers lined up for hours outside the British Consulate in Admiralty, the city’s eastern central business district, to pay their respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II. A colossal bed of flowers and pictures of the queen were gradually built up against the consulate walls—it may have been one of the greatest displays of affection for the late monarch witnessed outside the UK. 

Putin May Not be Crazy

Although the barrage of news coverage surrounding the Russia-Ukraine war tends to describe the conflict as “unprecedented” and “with no historical parallel,” the underlying interests and tensions that drove Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine are by no means new.